Queensland Regional Household Survey May 2012 – Household Preparedness for Natural Disasters
The Government Statistician within the Department of Treasury and Trade, conducts regular population surveys that collect information from a representative sample of Queensland adults to generate population estimates at regional and state levels.
Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ) included questions in the May 2012 Queensland Regional Household Survey (QRHS) to ask people what preparations their households had made for a natural disaster.
This information helps determine how prepared Queensland households are for natural disasters. This information can also be used to find out which types of households are the most and least prepared, and to monitor changes over time.
Survey products available:
- A summary report: Household Preparedness for Natural Disasters
- The full report: QRHS May 2012 EMQ Survey Report
- Data graphs for regional results (Note: Regions used within this document align with the Statistical Area 4 regions – from the Australian Statistical Geography Standard)
Summary of results
Queensland households believe they know their risk
- 97% of households believed they have a good understanding of the types of natural disasters that could occur in Queensland and the chances of them occurring; and
- Almost all households (95%) thought they had a good understanding of the impacts from a natural disaster.
While the survey did not test the accuracy of respondents’ knowledge, the results indicate a broad-based understanding that natural disasters are a threat for Queensland communities.
Queenslanders tend to over-estimate their preparedness
Three-quarters (76%) of respondents believed they are prepared or very prepared for a natural disaster, but their responses to more detailed questions on preparedness suggested otherwise:
- 89% of respondents did not have a documented household emergency plan;
- 73% of respondents did not have their emergency provisions stored in an emergency kit;
- 56% reported that no-one in their household had a current first aid certificate;
- 41% of respondents had not discussed what to do if at risk of a storm, cyclone, flooding or bushfire;
- 40% did not have a list of emergency phone numbers;
- 34% of respondents would not have enough drinking water in the event of being cut off from essential services; and
- 18% believed they are inadequately insured.
See Figure 1 for further detail on percentage of specific preparedness measures taken.
Figure 1. Percentage of respondents having taken specific preparedness measures
7 per cent of Queensland households had taken new preparedness measures in the last 12 months
Respondents who had implemented new preparedness measures in the last 12 months (as at May-June 2012) were asked which actions were implemented (multiple responses were allowed). The most common new measures implemented were:
- Cleaning out gutters, drains and flood channels (31%);
- Trimming trees away from homes and powerlines (27%); and
- Maintaining enough food for three days in the event of being cut off from essential services (25%).
Multi-person households with children (11.3%) were more likely than multi-person households without children (5%) and single person households (5%) to have implemented new actions. Similarly, households with an annual income of at least $110,000 were more likely (9%) than households with an annual income of less that $23,000 (4%) to have implemented new measures.
Complacency is an ongoing barrier to disaster preparedness
Respondents who indicated they were unprepared were asked what had prevented them and their household from taking steps to prepare (multiple responses were allowed). The key barriers to taking action were explained as have not thought about it (36%) and unlikely to happen to us (28%).
Respondents who had taken preparedness actions were asked what had prompted them to do so (multiple responses were allowed). The most common reasons were it is something we have always done (30%), recent Queensland disasters (28%), common sense (25%) and personal experience of disaster (23%).
Socio-economic status influences insurance uptake and first aid certification
Households with higher income levels were more likely to have first aid certification and insurance (consistent across all insurance types – building insurance, contents insurance and renters insurance).
Individuals’ assessment that they are adequately insured against natural disasters generally increased consistently with age.
Cultural background affects the type of preparedness actions by Queensland households
Households that usually speak English at home were more likely than those who usually speak a language other than English to have:
- A good understanding of natural disasters (98% and 92% respectively);
- Adequate supplies of medications (93% and 86% respectively);
- Contents insurance (83% and 70% respectively); and
- A belief that they are adequately insured against natural disasters (73% and 59% respectively).
Households that usually spoke a language other than English at home were more likely than those who usually speak English to have:
- An emergency kit (38% and 26% respectively) and
- Made accommodation arrangements in case of evacuation (69% and 52% respectively).
Regions used within this report align with the SA4 ABS statistical areas (as used in collection and presentation of census data). Figure 2 depicts the regional areas used within this report and Table 1 details the sample sizes for each region.
Table 1. Map of QRHS / SA4 regions.
Figure 2. Sample achieved across all QRHS regions.
North Queensland households regarded themselves as better prepared than those in the South East
The survey results demonstrated a divide between the North and South East of the state, with households in the North (and Queensland Outback) consistently demonstrating higher levels of preparedness compared with those in South East Queensland (SEQ) across the following measures:
- Believed they are very prepared or prepared (see Figure 3);
- Arranged accommodation with family and friends if evacuation required (see Figure 4);
- Identified strongest room in the home (see Figure 5);
- Discussed what to do if their home is at risk of storm, cyclone, flooding or fire (see Figure 6);
- Had items stored as an emergency kit (see Figure 7); and
- Had enough drinking water if cut off from services (see Figure 8).
However, households within Mackay (85%), Darling Downs (84%), Brisbane (84%) and the Sunshine Coast (83%) were more likely to have contents insurance than Cairns households (72%).
No significant difference in whether households had building insurance was found between regions.
Figure 3. Regional results – percentage of adults who believed they were prepared or very prepared.
Figure 4. Regional results – percentage of households that had arranged accommodation with family and friends if evacuation required.
Figure 5. Regional results – percentage of households that had identified the strongest room in their home to shelter in during a severe event (storm and cyclone).
Figure 6. Regional results – percentage of households that had discussed what to do if their home were at risk from storm, cyclone, flooding or fire.
Figure 7. Regional results – percentage of households that had emergency provisions stored in an emergency kit.
Figure 8. Regional results – percentage of households that had enough drinking water (for 3 days) if cut off from essential services.